“I don't write just one type of song. I write what I see, do, and feel. The blood boiling when you're angry, your pulse racing when you're excited - that's what's important. When I feel like that, the song already exists in my mind and I just start writing.” Ben Jelen
Scottish American musician and singer-songwriter Ben Jelen released his debut album, “Give It All Away,” in 2004 via Madonna's Maverick Records. The album reached the top spot on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart and peaked at No. 113 on the Billboard 200. The album's first and only single, “Come On,” charted at No. 58 the U.S. Hot Singles Sales. After leaving Maverick, Jelen went independence until finding a new home in Custard Records, through which he released his sophomore effort, “Ex-Sensitive,” in 2007. In 2009, he joined in a new band, Under the Elephant. Jelen also has contributed to several compilations, and his music has been featured in television shows and films. He made his acting debut in an episode of “House M.D.” in 2005.
Jelen is married to model Fern Palmer.
Childhood and Family:
“I was exposed to everything from the classical to the Stones, and remember a lot of Beatles and The Shadows from my parents.” Ben Jelen
Benjamin Ivan Jelen, who would be popular as Ben Jelen, was born on July 8, 1979, in Scotland, UK. As a freshman, he briefly attended Northside Health Careers High School in San Antonio, Texas, but later completed high school in Princeton, New Jersey. He went on to earn a degree in Biology from Rutgers University in New Jersey. After college, Ben, who honed his skills on the guitar, violin, and piano during his youth, decided to work in music industry and moved to New York in an attempt to achieve his goal.
On January 6, 2004, Ben met model Fern Palmer in a New York City night club. The couple married on June 28, 2009 in a private garden wedding in Cleveland, Georgia, the hometown of Palmer. Ben has a brother named Sebastian, who dueted with him in the song “Baby Girl.” The song was written for their sister Nina, who died suddenly in 2005.
Give It All Away
While working as an engineer at a local recording studio in New York, Ben Jelen made a self produced demo. Joseph Janus, of Fearless Management, was interested with Jelen's music and decided to listen to his demo. It was not long before Janus signed on as the young artist's manager and helped Jelen land a recording contract with Madonna's Maverick Recording Company.
Recorded in 2003, Jelen's debut album, “ Give It All Away,” was released in 2004 through Maverick. The album soon debuted and peaked at No. 113 on the Billboard 200, No. 1 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart and No. 13 on the Top Internet Albums chart. The lead single “Come On” reached No. 58 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart but failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100. After the album, Jelen and Maverick parted ways and he continued to release his material independently until he signed with Linda Perry's Custard Records.
Also in 2004, Jelen wrote and recorded a song called “Truth” on the compilation “For the Next X: A Benefit CD” for RAINN.” He also recorded a cover of Tracy Chapman's song “ Talking About A Revolution” on the Russell Simmons/Babyface compilation “Wake Up Everybody.”
On November 15, 2005, Jelen independently released an EP called “Rejected,” via Fearless Management Records. The EP, however, failed to appear on any charts in the United States. The fifth track of the EP, “Baby Girl,” was written for her sister Nina's funeral when she suddenly in 2005 and featured his brother's Sebastian. During his independent peroid , he also played keyboards and violin on “Forever In Our Hearts,” a single for tsunami relief in 2005. In 2006, he appeared on the compilation album “Breaking for Holiday” with his self-produced cover of Joni Mitchell's “River” through Breaking Records.
2007 saw Jelen perform at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and music festival in Austin, Texas, whose lineup also included Taylor Hicks, Amy Winehouse, Tom Morello, Mika, Martina Topley Bird, The Fratellis, Bloc Party, Paolo Nutini, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Mogwai and Spoon. His second studio album, “Ex-Sensitive,” was released on July 17, 2007 through Custard Records. Formerly titled “ East and Pulse,” the album was produced by Linda Perry and mixed by Bill Bottrell. The lead single of the album, “Where Do We Go,” failed to chart in the US. He stated, “Anyone who gets to make music for a living is lucky. And I've had that chance, but I had this certain concept in mind for my next record. I knew I could do it, but I knew it would take someone like Linda Perry to help me see it through.”
Also in 2007, Jelen recorded a cover of John Lennon song's “Woman” for “Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.” In 2008, he released a second EP named “Wreckage.”
In 2009, Jelen decided to put his solo career on the backburner to dedicate his time for a new group, Under the Elephant. Members of the band also include Josh McMillan, Elizabeth McMillan, Steve Esposito, Stan Esposito, Tina Mathieu and James Darwin Stull.
Jelen's music has been featured on the television series “Smallville,” “One Tree Hill” (both 2004) and “So You Think You Can Dance” (2007) as well as was used to promote the Academy Award nominated “Finding Neverland” (2004), starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. The song “Come On” was featured on in the 2005 film “Love Wrecked,” starring Amanda Bynes, and the instrumental version of the song was used in a trailer for the Rob Reiner comedy “The Bucket List” (2007). His song, “Where Do We Go,” also appeared in the film “Fired Up” (2009). Jelen also made a guest appearance on an episode of “House M.D.” called Kids” (2005), playing Dr. Roger Spain.